My Heritage: My Mother’s Side…

I haven’t really talked that much about my family or my heritage on here, so I thought I would give a little history.

My mother is Belgian and Irish. Her father, my Grandpa Bob, was born in Belgium and moved to Canada in 1950, when he was 8 years old. Both of his parents were Belgian. My great-grandpa John served in World War II and always told us a story about how he nearly died. He was running away from an enemy troop through a field beside his best friend and they started firing at them. He was missed, but he had to watch his best friend die right there beside him. I don’t know why he always told us this story because it always made him so sad, but I think he liked talking about it in some ways. It probably made him remember his friend a little bit more and I can imagine it would be even more difficult to let go knowing that it easily could have been him. Grandpa John passed away in 1999, when I was 12 years old. I loved spending time with Grandpa John. He would always play with us, even though he was well into his 70s when we were still little kids. My great-grandmother would always make us meatball soup and he would always jokingly try to steal our meatballs. Quite often though, he would wait until my grandmother left the room and would then go to the pot and scoop us each a huge spoonful of meatballs. He would also always pull out his false teeth and wiggle them at us. We always thought it was so funny since we were just little when he did this. My great-grandmother Jose (her real name was Petrice Josepha Elisabeth Vanderaa [maiden name Vandenaulewent]) was a seamstress in Belgium before the war and continued doing that when she came to Canada. My great-grandparents bought some land and set up a farm near Parkhill, ON. I don’t remember them having many animals other than some cows, but they had gotten rid of a lot of their livestock by the time I was old enough to remember going to the farm. My great-grandmother moved to London in 1999 to be closer to her son, my Grandpa Bob. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 87. I am so proud to be her granddaughter. She was such an amazing and strong woman and I identify more with the Belgian side of my family than any other. My Grandpa Bob was also an amazing grandfather and he overcame so much in his life. Sadly, he passed away at the age of 63 in 2006. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t miss him and that I don’t think about him. I wish I had some pictures of them to post for you, but sadly, I have no copies with me at my house.

My grandmother on my mother’s side, Sharon, was born in Canada after my great-grandma Ruby came over from Ireland. I don’t really know too much history about this side because my great-grandma Ruby passed away when I was 10 and she was in a senior’s home before that. My great-grandpa passed away in the 1970s when my Mom was still a teenager. I’ve heard little stories about them, but not too many. There’s a published guide about this family history, but I haven’t read it for some time. The Laskey Family has been linked back to the Laura Secord story (look here for a quick background – in that she was supposedly my great-great-great-great Aunt. There’s a long family lineage traced back from many years ago, but I haven’t really seen it since I was about 8 or 9.

My Mom has one brother and one sister, but is much closer to her brother. She was quite the tomboy growing up and it’s funny to hear the stories of how my great-grandfather made her a baby cradle one year for Christmas and she said “That’s nice” and went back to playing with her trucks. My poor great-grandfather must have been heartbroken! He spent so much time working on the cradle and she didn’t even care! My mother lived in London, Thamesford, and Thorndale throughout her childhood and met my father in Thorndale, ON. Her brother was best friends with my Dad’s little brother and the rest is history! They got married in 1982 and had me in 1986. Then they had my sister Rachel in 1988 and my sister Kelly in 1990.

I only have 2 cousins on my Mom’s side. I was close with them and my Aunt when I was a kid, but my mother and my Aunt had a falling out about 12 years ago and the relationship still hasn’t recovered. I see my Aunt occasionally, but I know that I sometimes limit the contact because I know my mother doesn’t really like it – she doesn’t dislike it, but I can tell that she doesn’t like it. I think she’s just worried that I’m going to get hurt too.

Anyways, that’s my story about my heritage on my mother’s side. Stay tuned for my heritage on my father’s side tomorrow!

The Phillips Family in our Maple Leaf Jerseys

My sister Kelly and I

My Mom and My Grandma Sharon


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